Pore Space

Pore space is defined in many different ways, depending on whether you are a soil scientist, geologist, or an environmental engineer. It usually refers to the open spaces or voids of rock, taken collectively. Typically, this is a measure of the amount of liquid or gas that may be absorbed or yielded by a particular formation.

Why is Pore Space Important?

UC Denver

A market for pore space is beginning to grow. It can be expected to increase in the future for two significant reasons. 

  1. As global warming continues, the need for carbon sequestration will increase. The injection of CO2 into the earth ends up in pore space. Texas now provides tax credits to companies that sequester carbon. 
  2. As we continue to see an implosion of oil and gas activity, producers will have to deal with produced water (salt water). It is common for this salt water to be injected into pore space.

As companies look for solutions, they will also look to contractually acquire pore space. More than likely, this will be done subtly.

Pore Space Law

The law in this area is undeveloped, but companies who see an opportunity will not wait for the law to catch up. There is an increasing trend by states to recognize that pore space is owned by the surface owner. Some states, like Oklahoma, have specific statutes that recognize that the pore space is owned by the surface owner. 

This has significant ramifications when entering into agreements that have impacts on natural resources (easements, oil and gas leases, sub-surface easements, deeds, etc.) as one does not want to convey away a right that is beginning to have value previously recognized. As demand for pore space increases, landowners will need to be vigilant in order to maximize their returns and protect their resource.

Contact A Pore Space Legal Expert

Here at the Landowner Firm, our natural resource lawyers are committed to helping clients with this exciting and emerging area of the law. Attorney Trae Gray has written and spoken extensively about pore space law. See the News page for links to articles and interviews. He has been working on the cutting edge of this new field for a decade.

The LandownerFirm has been protecting the rights of Oklahoma landowners for more than 15 years. Contact our law firm to schedule a consultation at our Tulsa Metro (Bixby), Oklahoma City, or Coalgate office: 888-439-4729.